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King Protests Benefield

Editor’s Note: We received the following protest from Ann King for publication.

June 26, 2007

Executive Secretary


P.O. Box 286

Lewisburg, TN 37091-0286

Re: DQP Conduct/Fraternization

Respondent: Donna Benefield

Executive Secretary:

This letter is written in compliance with the current TWHBEA Bylaws/Corporation Rules and is a complaint filed against the above referenced respondent for conduct unbecoming and noncompliant with the bylaws and rules of our Association. This complaint is following the guidelines of Rule 20: Discipline and I hope the Executive Board will give full attention to this matter, as this behavior and misuse of authority is definitely not what our Association needs at anytime.

Donna Benefield, Director of Horse Protection Commission that is affiliated with TWHBEA as their HIOC, attended the Texas Spring Classic Show held in Nacogdoches, Texas April 19th through 21st of 2007. There is some ambiguity as to whether or not she was at the show in an official capacity or only as support for the first, and at present, only TWHBEA sanctioned show in Texas. However, she sat in the DQP inspection area table and examined horses, wrote and signed a ticket while at the show, so these actions would belie the fact that she was at the show in a support capacity only!

This being the case, my complaint is: Ms. Benefield parked her self contained motor home prominently in the area where exhibitors’ R.V.’s were parked and adjacent to the stabling area. There were several other areas that Ms. Benefield could and should have parked to keep a semblance of non-fraternization with friends/exhibitors that were showing. Not only did she not maintain a reasonable separation from exhibitors, she had several exhibitors come to her motor home to eat and visit, TO WIT, Pat Stout and Sandy Harris and their spouses/friends, all whom where exhibiting at this show. This was witnessed by many individuals. Additionally during the lunch break, Ms. Benefield was seen getting into a red truck owned by an exhibitor. These actions are in non-compliance with the “TWH Rulebook 2006, Article 109C, Standards of Conduct-HIO Committee Certified DQP, 7. All DQP will avoid any conduct that gives rise to the appearance of an impropriety.”

As pertaining to Article 109 C6 “All DQP will conduct himself/herself in a professional manner at all times. He will use discretion in handling matters in public, and exhibit a positive and friendly attitude.” This definitely not the case in her handling of me, my trainer and my friend at this show. My horse was given a ticket at this show, which I know for a fact was not warranted, but this complaint is not about that. I approached the DQP table where Ms. Benefield was sitting and asked what her credentials were for her position as Director, and she said to me “She did not give interviews.” When my friend asked to take a picture of her long thumbnail which she jabbed into the pastern area of my horse, as we felt that this was cause for protest, she jerked her hands beneath the table and began yelling for us to get out of the DQP area. She was very hostile, demeaning and rude, and definitely did not exhibit a “positive and friendly attitude.” This same attitude escalated as is evidenced by the attached letter from Myra Morrissey, accompanied by pictures that bear out the fact that the ticket she wrote to a spectator (Myra) was unfounded.

The above attitude, and actions are also in violation of Article 110B.3(b) “Acting or inciting or permitting any other to act in a manner contrary to the rules of the TWH Rulebook, or in a manner deemed improper, unethical, dishonest, unsportsmanlike or intemperate, or prejudicial to the best interest of the HIO Committee.” I realize this was probably setup to govern the exhibitors, but should not the Director of the HIO be held as accountable, if not more so, than a spectator?

What I envision that has taken place within the Association that the Executive Board has aligned with a person who has an agenda for power not concern for the magnificent breed. I am as concerned as many others about the situation of the industry, but no one person should have such power as I believe that has been given to Ms. Benefield. Is Donna Benefield really best for the industry as well as the breed? Can the Executive Board not see the adverse effect that Ms. Beenefield [sic] has on a large percentage of the owners/exhibitors that want to show the “Horse”?

I write this with the hope that the Executive Board will take a long hard look at this issue and make a decision which will say that all personnel of the Association should abide by the TWH Rulebook.

I thank the committee for their consideration and hope for a favorable resolve.

Respectively submitted,

Ann King

Kaufman, Texas

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